Bernard Burns got in touch with us recently to share a bit of cycling history and to comment on what today’s champions put back into a sport that has given them so much. But we felt that Bernard’s career both as a rider, manager and coach was also well worth looking at...
With le Grande Boucle set to depart on Saturday June 26th from Brittany – which shares Celtic culture with Scotland - we thought we should have a look at the Scottish riders who have participated in the biggest race on the planet, over the years.
David Rayner Fund 2018 ‘rider of the year,’ Heriot man, Stuart Balfour was busy post the 2020 ‘lock down’ and season 2021 sees him step up a level to UCI Continental team, Swiss Racing Academy which boasts former multiple World Time Trial and reigning Olympic Time Trial Champion, Fabian Cancellara as it’s patron.
It was with great sadness that we learnt this week about the passing of Craig Hardie, a living legend in Scottish cycling and beyond as a successful rider, true character, and popular bike shop owner, but so much more than that too. Originally from Dalgety Bay in Fife, Craig was a long-time member and stalwart of the Dunfermline Cycling Club and enjoyed a stellar cycling career.
When last we spoke to Mark Stewart, back in April, he’d just been cut adrift from the GB track squad on the strength of an admittedly below par ride in the World Points Race Championship, despite an excellent series of World Cup results over the winter. The other day, when we rang Mark we were back to speaking to ‘our Mark of old’, the new 2020 New Zealand Omnium Champion, full of enthusiasm for life and his sport.
There was never any doubt about Scotsman John Archibald’s talent; but we must lay aside UK results in the context of international racing, they simply don’t count with European team management. At 30 years-of-age our feeling at VeloVeritas was that John’s chances of a contract at the highest level were slim, despite his obvious class, however we’re glad to be proved wrong and John will be racing with Alberto Contador's EOLA-Kometa ProTeam squad next season.
Cameron Mason is back in action for the 20/21 'cross season, recently scoring his best result to date – a bronze medal in the European u23 Championship in s’-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands behind World Champion and ‘home boy’ Ryan Kamp and fellow Brit, Thomas Mein.
Covid having put paid to her 2020, ‘End to End’ bid after her brave but ultimately unsuccessful 2019 attempt, Christina Mackenzie (Stirlingshire Bicycle Club) had to re-focus and made the CTT 12 Hour Championship her goal for the year. ‘Mission accomplished,’ winning by some 12 miles with a provisional 251.64 miles on a tough course in equally tough conditions.
Kyle Gordon was fourth in the CTT 10 Mile Championship and fifth in the CTT 25 Mile Championship but made no mistakes – well, except for crashing that is - in the 50 Mile Championship held on a far from ‘float’ course in the north east of England near Cramlington.
In the ‘whatever happened to?’ file: Mr. Jim Linden, former four times Scottish BAR; six times Scottish individual time trial champion and three times Scottish record breaker. The good news is that we can report that he’s alive and well and living in Hong Kong where, at 84 years-of-age he’s still working as a consultant.
It’s hard to believe but it’s now 13 years since VeloVeritas’ Belgium and East Europe archivist, Ivan and I drove through to Strathaven to meet Mr. Norrie Drummond, former racing cyclist of note in Auld Scotia and Belgium and patron of the Drummond Trophy Road Race, one of few remaining ‘landmark’ races in Scotland. We chatted to Norrie recently to hear some more stories about the old times...
He’s a man we should have caught up with long ago – but one of the few good things about ‘lockdown’ is that it has given us the time to catch up with riders who have ‘slipped through the VeloVeritas net.’ At last; Mr. David Whitehall...
A cold Friday night during the winter of 1971/72. My Kirkcaldy & District CC club mate, Rab Speirs and I are walking up the A93 near the infamous ‘Devil’s Elbow’ hairpin en route the Braemar youth hostel. Behind us we hear the sound of bike tyre on tarmac, two figures totting enormous saddle bags heave past us; Mr. George Berwick, who was reigning Scottish 12 Hour Champion at the time....
When I asked Drew Wilson (or 'Mr. Visualbikefit', as he’s known on social media) if he’d like to do a wee interview with us here at VeloVeritas he replied that he wasn’t sure he had enough interesting things to say? We said that we’d risk it and we’re glad we did…
We’ve opened the ‘whatever happened to’ file again, this time it’s a man who many will remember dominating Meadowbank Track League in Edinburgh back in the 70’s, winning a rare (in that era) British Track Championship medal and scoring numerous, notable successes on the road; Graeme Nisbet of Dunedin CC and Roiseal Cycle Racing Team.
The thing about being on a World Tour or Pro Conti professional team is that your fate doesn’t hang on just one ride. But it seems that it does with British Cycling. Mark Stewart, had a strong winter 2019/20 World Cup campaign, but despite those rides Stewart has been axed from the GB team on the strength of an admittedly below par 12th place ride in the World Points Race Championship in Berlin.
When Linda Ann, Philippa York’s ‘better half’ invited questions for Pippa on Drew Wilson’s ‘Robert Millar Appreciation Group’ on FaceBook we thought it sounded like a good opportunity to us. Aware of Pippa’s weakness for a certain bakery chain’s products there was no need to ponder over our first questions...
Another one for Jack Carlin. Major championship silver medal, that is, this time in the UCI World Team Sprint Championship in Berlin. We caught up with him as he prepared to take a wee break from training and racing before the big build up for the competition which really matters to Team GB: the Olympic Games in Tokyo come late July/early August.
We used to have Brian Blessed as the voice on the satnav. Today however it was Daffy but even with our little American Black Duck guiding us it’s a fair old hike from Peebles to Bridge of Alford to watch the Scottish Road Race Championships 2021.
Jo Patterson – who has just won the CTT 100 Mile TT with a stunning 3:42 ride in Wales, riding for The Independent Pedaler-Nopinz - has represented Ireland internationally and was born in England but she lives in Scotland and works in Wishae – that’s ‘Wishaw’ to non-natives… ‘good enough for us,’ we thought to ourselves.
When Sasha Castling of Ribble Cycles contacted us to ask if we’d be interested to hear more about the company’s decision to run a TV ad. campaign promoting their wares during the Tour de France, we took the opportunity to ask the man behind the company, Mr. Andy Smallwood a wide range of questions about his business, the sport and that, ‘tech stuff.’
To celebrate the 2021 Tour de France, Continental has today announced the return of the cream sidewall Continental Grand Prix 5000 road tyre, which joins the transparent sidewall and traditional black tyres to form the new colours range.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have had that last Strega on top of the Erdinger, Malbec and Grappa last night? But when we got an invite to the Loch Ken Round of the Merlin Cycles Classic TT Series from the organiser and he takes the trouble to send you the start sheet and rider information sheet, hangovers must be ignored.